October 29, 2004

FETTERED PASSION:

A Letter From Mr. Burke To A Member Of The National Assembly (Edmund Burke, 1791)

Men are qualified for civil liberty in exact proportion to their disposition to put moral chains upon their own appetites; in proportion as their love of justice is above their rapacity - in proportion as their soundness and sobriety of understanding is above their vanity and presumption; in proportion as they are more disposed to listen to the counsels of the wise and good, in preference to the flattery of knaves. Society cannot exist unless a controlling power upon will and appetite be placed somewhere, and the less of it there is within, the more there must be without. It is ordained in the eternal constitution of things, that men of intemperate minds cannot be free. Their passions forge their fetters.

Posted by Orrin Judd at October 29, 2004 7:04 AM
Comments

Someone should send this letter to Andrew Sullivan

Posted by: SV at October 29, 2004 7:57 AM

In a secular state the use of "political correctness" and state controlled education should serve Mr. Burkes purpose just fine, don't you think? What else do we have in a purposeless universe other than more laws, regulations and lawsuits?

Posted by: Tom C., Stamford, Ct. at October 29, 2004 8:10 AM

The whole problem with people who have been given up to shameful lusts is that they lose all perspective and balance--the only thing they see is what drives and consumes them.

Burke's idea here is why the Libertarians and other non-Christians out their need to learn to bite their tongues about the myth of "separation of church and state." The large majority of real human beings do not have the capacity or the patience to work out a personal, private sense of morality without religious guidance, and if a society will not have Big Father, it must have Big Brother.

Here and now, this means Christianity. One might pine for the chance that Constantine had failed, or Julian succeeded, but in the reql world, the choices are what they are.

Posted by: at October 29, 2004 8:27 AM

Sorry, the above was mine. -Lou

Posted by: Lou Gots at October 29, 2004 8:29 AM

Tom,

Are you saying that by living in a secular state, everyone, including the religious have no purpose other than "more laws, regulations and lawsuits?" ? If not, and you feel your life has purpose, how do you justify imposing it on others.

Either you are being forced to have a meaningless life by the sectarians around you or you don't believe in the concepts of free will and liberty.

Posted by: Perry at October 29, 2004 8:33 AM

Perry:

Yes, that's the problem with secularism--the only purposes are whatever 51% agree on at any given moment.

Posted by: oj at October 29, 2004 9:01 AM

The whole problem with people who have been given up to shameful lusts is that they lose all perspective and balance--the only thing they see is what drives and consumes them.

As Stephen King put it when writing about his bout with alcoholism, "To an alky, the Right to My Next Drink must be protected at all costs."

Posted by: Ken at October 29, 2004 12:23 PM
« IMAGO BUSHIE (via mc): | Main | LAST PITCH THIS SEASON: »